This article was written by a 1993 OBI graduate who also served many years on the Oneida faculty. Twenty-two years of total time at Oneida certainly provides some unique perspective.
The distillation of 25 years or so after attending Oneida has left the indelible imprint of God’s grace on my life. The memories of Oneida school days passed too soon are one thing, but the impact of God’s ministry in Clay County, Ky., is something completely unique. Dr. Barkley Moore’s voice still resonates within my breast as he emphatically stated, “You’re an Oneida boy!” It meant something great then, and it means something wonderful now.
I lose myself in wonder at how many students of Oneida were surprised by the fact and by the grace that they were accepted at Oneida, perhaps feeling acceptance and belonging for the first time in their lives. Oneida’s ministry is accomplished under the simple imperative: “On earth as it is in heaven.”
Have you felt the elation of acceptance when rejection has been the norm? Many of the faculty and staff of Oneida Baptist Institute demonstrably comprehend what Jesus is talking about when He says the first shall be last and the last shall be first; this is so difficult to articulate but so easily detectable on Oneida’s campus.
One may witness a young man strutting around Oneida’s campus like a peacock, as if he owned the place, but I would venture to say that doesn’t happen without an overriding sense of belonging. One may notice an effervescent smile on a young lady’s face in Oneida’s dining hall, and yet may not realize that this phenomenon has only been a reality since she successfully adapted to Oneida’s social landscape and found a home for the time being.
Oneida is imperfect, but Oneida is a Christian community that God continues to hold steadily in His hands; His fingerprints are indelibly inscribed within the hearts of generation after generation. God continues to redeem the lives of the lost as Oneida’s workers become clay in the hands of The Potter. God gives and gives and gives through OBI.
As I reflect on my six years at Oneida as a student, I cannot help but feel and figuratively see only one set of footprints; Jesus carried me across through the sacrifice of His children on bended knee asking Him what He’d have them to do as they surrendered daily to helping provide education for time with the promise that He’d take care of the eternity.
Thank you, Oneida! And a very big thank you to all those who have found it in their hearts to support Oneida over the years with their time, love, prayer, and personal resources.